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Look no hands - e-MasterClass in cybersurgery


For immediate use
Tuesday 27th November 2001

  • To see a short edited highlights of the e-MasterClass (3.17 minutes) click here.
  • To watch the full unedited event (55 minutes) follow this link.
  • You will need Microsoft Media Player to view these streams. If not installed download a free copy.

These video streams have been prepared by the Imperial College Televison Studio.

Latest technology enabled people to watch the second e-MasterClass, interactive distance learning, in real time on the Internet as it was beamed across the world.

e-MasterClass
Professor Ara Darzi enthralled participants at the University of New South Wales, Australia with a presentation entitled 'Look no hands - an exploration in cyber-surgery' which encapsulated his team's dynamic new approach to micro-surgery and robotics and set out his vision for the future of surgery.

"Imperial College has unique multi-areas of opportunity," announced the head of the department of surgical oncology and technology at the Faculty of Medicine, adding the e-MasterClass was a fantastic idea. "The most recent advances have been borne out of multi-disciplinary working with colleagues in bio-engineering, mechanical engineering and computing here at the College. We really are leading the way in new applications and training techniques in surgery."

Surgical error
Surgical error is a costly business. Recent statistics presented by Darzi showed that more than 98,000 people a year die due to surgical error in the US. Professor Darzi's team is the first to compile objective data on the influence of external factors on surgery. A recent survey revealed the negative aspect of sleep deprivation.

Professor Ara Darzi
Professor Ara Darzi
"Our advances in no way replace the traditional surgeon's competencies such as knowledge, decision making, dexterity and the ability to communicate," he continued. "Rather, we are devising assistive techniques to make a complicated process more precise and therefore more effective and less open to error."

An invited audience in the video conference studio, South Kensington campus, included Chris Toumazou, head of the department of bioengineering who founded the e-MasterClass in June 2001 as a way of applying interactive distance learning techniques to scientific and technological advances at the College.

Plasma screens
Plasma screens
Ara Darzi was watched on plasma television screens as video-conferencing equipment tracked his movements with a time-lag of less than a second. The Australian audience praised work done at St Mary's hospital and inquired about costs of developing and installing both the Da Vinci robot and interventional MRI scanning which enables surgeons to work on the patient with images in real time.

Technology
Users around the world could view the e-MasterClass as it happened via the Internet and a Microsoft media player. Within a few minutes of the event ending, a full recording could also be seen.

"We kept the technology secret as it was experimental," explained Tim Wetten , head of media and technology services.

"The clever thing is it detects what connection you have and adjusts the image accordingly to make the best use of the speed available.

"We had dedicated ISDN links to the University of New South Wales and St Mary's hospital where audiences were interactive. People could also watch as it happened on the Internet using either high speed connections or dial up modem connections at low speed from their homes.

  • To see a short edited highlights of the e-MasterClass (3.17 minutes) click here.
  • To watch the full unedited event (55 minutes) follow this link.
  • You will need Microsoft Media Player to view these streams. If not installed download a free copy.

These video streams have been prepared by the Imperial College Televison Studio.

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